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Home >Online Support Ask The Experts >Ken Czillinger

Ken Czillinger

Do you think we are supposed to forgive the one who murdered our child? I have been told by (mostly those who have never been there) that I have to forgive him. It happened 22 years ago and I have never felt the need to forgive him. Wouldn't God let me know if that is what I should do? How do they know that I should do this if God has not laid it on my heart that I should, wouldn't I know that before others know it? It had never entered my mind until the last year or two when these things were said to me. I do not feel mad, nor do I feel bitter toward him, I feel like he doesn't exist and he is no problem of mine. I have no feeling of guilt that I should do this, nor do I think it is necessary, or that I could do it. I feel no need.

I do not feel you are under any obligation from God to forgive the one who murdered your child. Trust your experience. You have been there. I believe God has been actively supporting you and with you during the past 22 years.

Years ago at a national POMC meeting I learned a valuable lesson from some folks who came from Miami, Florida. They game me an article with the title "Don't SHOULD On Me." Beware of those who try to should or should not on you.

-Ken Czillinger


Do I have to forgive the murderer of my child in order to be "right" with God?

I do not believe it is necessary to forgive the murderer in order to find peace, closure or to be right with God. I take comfort in that f o r g i v e n e s s is a long word. In your lifetime you go from letter to letter. Some people may be at peace and never get beyond the letter f. Other people may get to s s and may even visit or minister to the person or persons responsible for the murder of their loved one(s). Only you who have been there know the depth of the hurt. Go as far as you can through the word forgiveness. I believe God accepts you wherever you are. God is aware of all the circumstances involved in each situation that may complicate the hurt. What if your only child has been murdered? What if all your children have been murdered? What if your loved one was raped and molested in the process of being murdered? If this answer is not sufficient, please ask further questions or make further comments. I welcome the opportunity for dialogue.

-Ken Czillinger

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My son was murdered and I would like to move his body from a Catholic cemetery to a cemetery closer to where I live. Do I have to get permission from a Priest before I can do this?

You do not need to get a priest's approval in order to disinter your son's body from a Catholic cemetery. You need to contact a funeral director (hopefully a compassionate one) who will guide you through the process. In Ohio you need a court order to disinter a body. A funeral director can help you secure this court order through the health department. I'm told it is not a big deal. You have to give a reason for the disinternment, i.e., a move to a different cemetery. The issue is a legal matter and not really a church matter.

Good luck in your efforts!

-Ken Czillinger

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What do you believe God's role is when it comes to murder? My daughter was good, kind and caring and yet, I guess she wasn't worthy of being saved.

I cannot speak with certainty about God's role in murder. However, I will offer you my beliefs.

  1. I believe that God didn't intend for murder to exist.
  2. I believe that murder exists because God chose to give human persons free will, including the freedom to kill each other. What an ongoing risk on God's part!
  3. I believe that when murder happens, God reaches out to the survivors. Usually God touches the survivors through human instruments, i.e., relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers, members of our religious/ spiritual community, funeral directors, POMC and, hopefully all systems the survivors encounter.
  4. I believe God never abandons survivors, even if they become bitter toward God and temporarily or permanently abandon God.
  5. I believe God ultimately forgives the murderer(s), but understands and accepts the fact that survivors may never completely forgive the murderer(s) and may never completely forgive God for letting the murder happen.
  6. I believe your daughter is with God. She was an innocent victim. She is most worthy of being saved.

When a loved one is murdered, the survivors are deeply hurt. When we are hurt, often we see more darkness than light in life. Out of our darkness we make interpretations about life and about our beliefs. I hope you can rethink and revise your interpretations/beliefs and trust that God has welcomed your daughter to a place and a presence where she will never be hurt again.

-Ken Czillinger

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I have never shared this with anyone other than my family, my pastor, and the FBI. I witnessed a murder of a little girl years ago. I am still haunted by the look on the face of the girl as she was being strangled to death and the horrible face of the guy committing the murder. Angels became visible during the murder and it looked like God had taken her soul prior to the suffering. Supernatural events started happening to me shortly thereafter. I was not asked to testify at the trial because the FBI said it was so bizarre a jury would never believe it. I am a religious person and I am starting to question if the angels were God's or Satan's since they all look the same. I have never talked with the parents of the little girl, but my pastor did on my behalf because it was a high profile case. I wanted to remain anonymous. I feel that I could have prevented the murder if I had acted quickly. Instead, I stood there in shock as the murder occurred and I was frightened by the angels. How can I come to terms with my feelings of not stopping the murder and rescuing this little girl? I think of her all the time when I see my nieces that are about her age.

Thank you for sharing your painful story. I will divide my response into four parts.

  1. How many years ago did you witness this murder? I am concerned about your being haunted NOW by the two faces. Have you experienced any healing, any significant relief from your trauma? It seems that you still could be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). How often have you shared your story and your feelings with your pastor? Could you benefit from some professional help from someone skilled in PTSD?

    Another type of therapy you might explore is EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Charlotte Hullinger, one of the founders of POMC, has been trained in this type of therapy.

  2. Were the angels God's or Satan's? I would hope they were God's angels. What a comfort if God received the girl's soul prior to her suffering. On the other hand, why did the angels frighten you? Could you really have stopped the murder? Could you have been murdered too? I do not know.
  3. Where there is guilt, there needs to be forgiveness. Who needs to forgive you - God, the girl, yourself? Perhaps you need to be forgiven by all three. What rituals might help you feel forgiven? What if you were to write a letter, or a series of letters, to the girl? What if you were to create a response from her to you? Would she accuse you of abandoning her and not trying to stop the murder? What would it take for you to at least partially forgive yourself? Have you already discussed these topics and rituals with your pastor?
  4. Finally, it is understandable that seeing your nieces would cause you to think of the girl. You need someone to talk to and share your feelings with. As you know, there will be a lifelong dimension to your grief. You will never forget what you saw, yet, hopefully, you can get unstuck from being haunted by the faces and experience whatever forgiveness you need.

-Ken Czillinger

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I am a bereavement counselor at Blue Ridge Hospice in Winchester, Va. I have been contacted by the parents of a local family whose adult son was murdered in the line of duty. They are primarily looking at the possibility of joining a support group that our Hospice offers. Our support groups are designed to offer emotional support and information by sharing experiences, feelings, and insights within the members of the group. This family does not feel that they wish to drive to the Mannasas, Va. POMC support group offered, as the distance is too far for them to travel. Do you feel that they might be better served by attending a group for survivors of homicide victims than a support group that usually only has survivors of illness or unexpected death as our Hospice group does? I would appreciate any insight you might offer. Thanks

I am Bereavement Manager for VITAS Hospice in Cincinnati. I lead 2 support groups for our company. We advertise that our support groups are for persons who've experienced the death of a loved or loved ones due to illness. In the past we've had people attend whose had a loved die because of sudden death or violent death. After one meeting they do not return. Their experiences and their journeys are different and they cannot really identify with the people in our groups. Therefore, I recommend that these parents not attend your group.

If the parents you mentioned prefer not to drive to the nearest POMC support group, maybe the leaders of that group could set up phone call or e-mail support. Maybe some members of the group would be willing to travel to meet with these parents. Also the bereaved parents may benefit from the new "Topic Forum" on the POMC website.

-Ken Czillinger

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I have come to realize that I have an anger toward God that I never knew existed. I know that he loves me and understands, but I don"t like the way I feel about it. I have this emptiness inside me that keeps reoccurring. As a single parent when I lost my daughter, and my son now married and on his own, I have begun to realize how difficult these days have become. The memory of my daughter Sherry, and how brutally she died is forever embedded in my heart, and knowing that I couldn't be there to help her really hurts. I know that she is in God's presence, I haven't a doubt about that. I am finding that this loss of my daughter has affected every part of my life, even into my job. I find myself with less patience, and just not the desire to want to be there. It seems like I just go through the motions. It has been over 3 years now, I have to admit that when I first found out about Sherry, my mind and body went into shock and I didn't feel a thing. For the longest time I never felt anything. Just blank. Could it be that a lot of the heartache and the feeling of the loss are surfacing even to this day? Even though it has been over 3 years.

Your daughter's violent death disrupted the flow of your life. She is gone. Your son is on his own. Your nest is empty. Your life is empty.

Three years is really a short time. For many months you were numb. Now the numbness is wearing off and you are getting in touch with some significant feelings, i.e., anger toward God, regret that you weren't there to help Sherry and searching for new meaning and purpose in your life.

New dimensions of your grief are indeed surfacing. Find someone, perhaps a professional person, with whom you can honestly share all these feelings and issues. Your heart is crying. Now is the time to share your heartache with at least one "companion." This will be an important part of the healing process.

I also would recommend starting a journal if you haven't done so already. This could be valuable place to record your feelings and questions and help you move through the healing process. Accept yourself where you are. Share what you are experiencing now.

-Ken Czillinger

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My father was a murder suspect. I'm the one who spoke to the police. It was so long ago that the police said they can only solve it with a confession. I don't know if he did this specific crime but I wonder what he could have done at some other time. I can't shake the overwhelming feeling of being sorry.I have no reason to feel guilty, I know. I want to change the world somehow, make it a better place because I feel so badly. What should I do?

I am unclear about the primary source of your sorrow. Do you feel sorry about your Dad's behavior and that at least one murder may have gone unsolved? To what extent do you feel sorry for yourself?

Do you feel that you are stuck in your feeling of sorrow? I suggest you find someone (preferably a professional person) who will listen with empathy to your story. Then the two of you can work toward a path of healing.

It may be important for you to reach out and try to help others. I encourage you to set realistic expectations for yourself. Is there some practical way for you to make the world a better place? Perhaps this professional can help you look at some possible ways in which you can make a difference. What talents do you have? What service might you offer on behalf of others?

Feel free to e-mail me again if you have further comments or insights.

-Ken Czillinger

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I understand you are a specialist in bereavement, and I have what may be a self answered question, but it would be nice for someone to confirm my thoughts. My mother was murdered two years ago, two weeks before my first child was born. Needless to say it was, and still is a very emotional time. Since then, I have had many, many very vivid dreams in which my mother is there and I continuously question her on why she is back, she never answers, but the dream goes on as I try to undo all we have done with her house, her car, and her possessions. The most recent one was a couple of nights ago, and it was just after we spent 2 weeks cleaning out her house and we have just rented it out to someone. This last dream was so real, that when I woke up, I had to think for a minute to get back to reality. I assume that this is normal, and my subconscious knows how badly I want her back, and that my mind is going through the motions on what would happen if she did come back, but I was just hoping you could confirm my suspicions.

I confirm your thoughts. What you're experiencing in your dreams is normal and healthy. You are still in the process of accepting your mother's death and the violent circumstances of her death. You are letting go of her belongings and adapting to life without her.

The mourning process involves the gradual sinking in of no mores and nevers. No more will you be able to talk with her or shop with her. Never (on earth) will she see or hold her grandchild.

Some day I hope you experience dreams in which your mother's presence brings you peace and reassurance!

-Ken Czillinger

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After what my surviving son and I have been through at the hands of the court, I seriously question whether God or any supernatural being is looking after our "best interests" with the only possible exception of my dead son!! If God were looking after us or helping us, why are we continually harassed and threatened by the murderer, the courts and their actions to inflict cruel and unusual punishment on us, and the public defender who has to be an instrument of whatever evil exists!!!!! As far as I am concerned, God either isn't around -- He/She is too busy creating new universes -- or just plain does not care what happens on this Godforsaken planet (maybe the source of the term?) While I believe in God, I don't think God either believes in us nor cares at all!!!

Often the compassionate behavior of people can help reveal the presence of God in our life.

Often the harassing and threatening behavior of people can conceal the presence of God in our life. This is your current experience.

It is important for you to protest, to question, to vent and to doubt. Frequently, the spiritual journey involves the agonizing movement through darkness to new light.

One of my favorite prayers is "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief." I can't explain or justify the behavior of the court or the behavior of the public defender. However, in your anger and darkness, I would caution you about drawing definitive conclusions regarding God' actions and presence in your life.

In ways you don't see now, maybe God is still carrying you. Hopefully, you'll soon experience the compassion of someone who reveals, if only dimly, the presence of God in your life. Beware of permanently giving up on God because of the insensitive behavior of people.

-Ken Czillinger

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My son and daughter-in-law were murdered 3 years ago and I need to know if you can recommend a book or something for bereavement in the work place. Our bosses just don't understand and it is not their fault but any thing would help. Thank you.

Here are some possibilities.

  1. Check the website for BEREAVEMENT magazine- www.bereavementmag.com. This magazine publishes 16 booklets to help people understand and cope with grief. One booklet is on "Homicide" and another is on "Grief in the Workplace."
  2. Check the website for the National Catholic Ministry to the Bereaved- www.griefwork.org. The NCMB publishes a leaflet on "Grief and the Workplace."
  3. Consider previewing and purchasing a 40-minute video entitled TO TOUCH A GRIEVING HEART. This video offers some excellent and practical insights about the mourning process. Write Ray Bachorn and Ken Isaac, P.O. Box 2006, Salt Lake City, UT 84410-2006.
  4. Get hold of a copy of Therese Rando's book TREATMENT of COMPLICATED MOURNING. Review pages 534-610. These chapters deal with homicide and traumatic death.
  5. Perhaps with some of these materials you might develop an inservice in your workplace.

-Ken Czillinger

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My daughter was murdered 4 years ago and I am still isolating myself and still grieving so much of the time. I recently started taking Prozac for my depression. I am not clinically depressed-just sad most of the time. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can help myself ?

Do you feel that you are stuck in your grief? To what extent are you so overwhelmed by what has happened that you are unable to help yourself by yourself? Could you benefit from a professional counselor in order to combine talking therapy with medication?

What feelings are still significant and need to be discussed and processed (i.e., hurt, anger)? What spiritual and other questions need to be addressed and remain unresolved?

Can you name what remains on your grief agenda and then get help in dealing with these items? Why do you still isolate yourself? What is the story behind your feeling of sadness?

-Ken Czillinger

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I am a friend of parents of a murdered daughter in her 20's. The mother asked me why does the brain need to keep thinking about the death over and over and when will such obsessive thinking come to an end? Can you answer this so I can relay your answer to her? Thank you very much.

Thinking over and over about the death of a murdered child is not necessarily obsessive thinking. It may be a natural part of working through the trauma after you've been mentally/personally injured by the experience of a violent death.

Do these parents have other bereaved parents with whom they can share, especially parents who've had a child murdered? My first thought is that this mother is struggling to accept and resolve the reality of the tragedy that has happened in her life and the life of her family.

-Ken Czillinger

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My son was murdered six and a half years ago. I went to POMC meetings for awhile, and still support them with gifts of money, but the groups I have been to have been more focused on political change than supporting people who have experienced murder. I have been working with therapists most of the time since my son's murder. I have lost so much including my career as a psychologist because I simple couldn't do the work anymore. I feel so much rage sometimes and don't know what to do. I have not been able to find an appropriate therapy group setting where I can unblock the rage I feel. Can you give me any suggestions on locating such a group? Thank you.

Is it possible for you to return to the POMC groups and ask them (either yourself or through an advocate) to change or balance the format of their meetings? POMC groups need to be about supporting bereaved parents like yourself and providing an environment for you to talk about your rage.

If this is not possible, is there any person in the group with whom you could meet to discuss your rage? It's hard for me to believe that you are alone in your feeling of rage.

If this is not possible, could the POMC National Office connect you with at least one other person with whom you could communicate either by phone, by email, or face to face? It sounds like you may need more than professional help. You need contact with other parents of murdered children, especially those who can identify with your rage.

-Ken Czillinger

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Where can I find information to convince a friend that the loss of a child to murder (or any loss of a child) is a traumatic experience that may need professional help? Is there any data or statistics on symptoms or diagnoses of trauma in parents of murdered children? How long will the grieving last?

I suggest that you begin by reading two sections of a book entitled, "Treatment of Complicated Mourning", by Therese A. Rando, Pages 534-552. Chapter 11 contains a section on homicide. Pages 611-631 in Chapter 13 contains a section on death of a child.

The grieving will last a lifetime. A variety of factors and circumstances will have a profound affect on the healing process. Here are some important questions. Was the murderer or were the murderers found? What was the family's experience with the criminal justice system? Was there a conviction? What was the sentence - capital punishment? Life Imprisonment? Other? What about the possibility of parole? If the murderer was released, what about additional crimes being committed?

Write again if you need further assistance.

-Ken Czillinger

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My son was murdered 16 months ago. I keep reliving the night he died, his funeral, and his trial. I try to go into his room but must leave as the pain and memories are too much for me. I want o know what I can do when these thoughts keep coming? Is there something I can say to myself? Is there a mental exercise I can do to get rid of these thoughts or am I doomed to suffer this awful feeling forever? When I try to remember the good times, it makes me just as sad as remembering his death. I see a counselor but all he does is sit and listen. He never makes any comments nor suggestions. I'm wondering too if I should change to someone else? Every day for me is just one more day of struggle just get through this miserable constant companion - grief. Thanks for listening.

There are no words to adequately describe the trauma experienced after having a child murdered. Part of what you are experiencing 16 months later is probably very normal. I wonder if you are stuck in any way? Are there particular aspects of the night he died, the funeral and the trial that you focus on and re-live more than others? What still remains on your grief agenda? What can be resolved? What will still remain unresolved? How can you paint a verbal picture of "this awful feeling?" Your healing involves your processing these feelings and working through your struggle.

Obviously, your counselor is not meeting your expectations. You want someone who does more than sit and listen. Would there be value in discussing your expectations with him? Is he able to meet your expectations? Is he able and willing to do more? Is he skilled in dealing with the trauma and grief after a murder? What are his expectations of you? Is he the best person for you? I definitely feel the "right" professional person could be a key instrument in getting through your "miserable constant companion - grief".

-Ken Czillinger

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My daughter has been missing for 3 1/2 years now and the FBI has been on the case and they know who did this to my daughter and I do too. I have been looking for my daughter's remains for 3 1/2 years because I know this person hurt my daughter and buried her somewhere. I just have to find her. The FBI has had searches for her and I know my daughter isn't alive just like the FBI knows. Do you know what it is like to know that your daughter is dead but you just don't know where she is? I'm tired now and I want a closure about my daughter. I need help - and I have prayed and prayed to know what happened to Kemberly and I have prayed that God would go into the heart of this person so he would tell the truth. I don't understand why he hasn't done this. I know there is a God and then sometimes I question why he has let me be in so much pain for so long. I want the truth about what happened to Kemberly and I think it is time I get some answers from the person who did this. I know him and he is prison right now for other things and his father is also an investigator for Walton County Florida where we all live. There has to be a God.

Thank you for sharing the tragic story about Kemberly. Only you know how hard it is NOT to know the whole truth about what happened to her. I encourage you to let God know how tired you are, that you want closure and that you don't understand the why of all this.

Recently I took a series of classes on the Book of Job. This experience deepened my belief that God never abandons us even in the most extreme instances of human suffering. Hopefully you can continue to renew your belief that "there has to be a God." I pray that you EXPERIENCE the presence of God in the midst of your intense suffering. I also pray that some day you will learn the truth about where Kemberly is and what happened to her.

-Ken Czillinger

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We have a friend/hairdresser (so he's an acquaintance that we are friendly with). His son was brutally murdered by his wife...now we are to go for a visit, as he has decided to return to work. We are all so very upset, and don't want to upset him, we don't know what to say, we don't know (thank God) the etiquette. This man's loss is beyond anything any of us have ever had to face. We just don't want to "say the wrong thing". What or how do we acknowledge his loss? Or is it best we say nothing? As reminding him is the worst thing? It's only been about 2 months.

I have been working with the dying and the grieving for over 30 years. During that time the most significant thing I have learned is about being helpless. When you are helpless, you are powerless to change, cure or fix someone or something. Often your helplessness is a STRENGTH and not a weakness.

Admit that you cannot identify with your hairdresser friend. You do not understand what he is going through. You cannot imagine what it's like. Let him know you care. You are really in a helpless - helpless bond, because neither of you can change what has happened. Let him talk. Be willing to listen. Be careful of trying to fix the situation of uttering cliches that are not helpful. Give him a hug. Go with the flow of your helplessness. Go toward him and do not try to avoid him or the tragedy. He knows you don't know what to say.

Every time you go for a visit, let him know you are remembering him and his loved ones. Let him tell stories about his son. Let him talk about it if he wants to. Remember your helplessness is really your strength.

-Ken Czillinger

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I have been a Christian for 18 years. The joy that I found in Christ has never left my heart in all these years. I have always loved the Lord with all my heart and have tried to live my life by putting Him first in all that I do and say from the day I got saved. My husband and I have raised our children in the Lord as well. God knows my heart and knows I worship Him in spirit and truth. I have surrendered my whole heart to him and love Him more than life itself. Now the true test has come. Our twenty-one year old daughter has been murdered. I can't understand all of this. I know people think these things only happen to other people. But really, I can't understand why It happened to us. I have been a good Christian for ever. There is so much more that I want to say but I am in agony as we speak. The bottom line is that I feel so betrayed by God that I can't stand it. I have been betrayed by my friends, coworkers, and even neighbors. But when you feel betrayed by God it is the ultimate betrayal. How can I go on living? Is God punishing me for something? What have I done wrong? How can all of this be happening? I have talked to my Pastor and have found no comfort. He tells me all the stories that I already know from the bible but it doesn't bring me comfort. In Sunday school we talked about how Jesus wept when Lazarus died but we decided he was weeping for the sisters because he felt their pain. It does not bring me comfort to know that Jesus knows my pain and grief. How can I go on? It has been six months, now I have to go to trial and relive this horrible nightmare. How will I survive? How will God get us through this? What good could ever come from all of this?

Thank you for sharing your tragic story and your agony with me. You know that I cannot offer you any easy answers or formulas. I will offer some reflections.

Last month I completed a four-week class on the Book of Job. According to the wisdom tradition of Job's time, if you are suffering, you must have sinned. Job rejects this part of his tradition. He trusts his experience, he is innocent of any wrongdoing. In my opinion you too are innocent. God is not punishing you. Trust in your innocence.

You need to continue to let God know how deeply you have been hurt, how betrayed you feel. You didn't expect God to allow such an event in your family's life. Let God know your feelings. Out of your darkness you need to continue raise big questions. Why did this happen? Does life have meaning? How will I survive? What good could come from this? Why remain faithful to God?

You need contact with and support from other parents of murdered children. You need to learn of their experiences within the justice ( or injustice) system. You need to learn of their courage, their perseverance, their faith and hope, their finding new life and light in the months and years after having a child or children murdered.

Some day I hope that you will have new experiences of God's presence in your life, reassuring you that God cares and is helping you get through this horrible time in your life. One of my favorite stories is the story of Footprints in the Sand. In your darkest hours may you one day experience that God is indeed carrying you.

-Ken Czillinger

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I am so grateful to have found this website. My 28 year old son was murdered 1 1/2 weeks ago. I am still very numb from this experience. I don't expect that my grief will disappear overnight, but I would like some general information on the grieving process. I do want to get through this to the other side as healthy as possible and I know that the more information I have to get there the better I will be able to handle it. I know general information is all you can provide, but I would be most grateful for anything.

From my experience the mourning process lasts a lifetime. You'll always remember your son and the violent way he died. Whenever you hear about a murder, you'll most likely think about him. We live in a violent culture. Our daily newscasts on radio and television serve as a vivid reminder of this reality.

The mourning process becomes more complicated by violent death. How much do you know about the circumstances of your son's death? What are your last memories and your last contacts with him? When were you last able to tell him how much you loved him? Has the person or have the persons responsible been found and arrested? If so, you are already involved in the criminal justice system. This is not an easy road to travel. Hopefully, others who have been there can support you and share their experience and wisdom with you.

Share the feelings, the questions, the truth inside of you. Find others who have been there. Build a network of support. If it is helpful, read about violent death and the unique issues associated with the mourning process, i.e. media attention, delayed grief over the death of your son while focusing on finding and sentencing the murderer(s).

I commend you for taking the initiative to help yourself. Your journey has just begun. The journey is long and hard, but many have survived and found a path to a new life. Continue to ask for help from others. You will not make it alone.

-Ken Czillinger

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My son was murdered at 21, by his best friend, being that age and most kids like to party. I'm not sure where my son stood with the Lord, do you think he had a chance to make peace before he took his final breath? That question just keeps me wondering. Thank you for your time.

I do not know whether your son had a chance to make peace with God before he died. I would encourage you to trust in God's mercy and compassion. I believe that God knew the day, the hour, and the circumstances that would result in your son's murder. I picture God unconditionally accepting your son, his young age, and his life style. If he needed to be forgiven for anything, I trust that God has forgiven him.

-Ken Czillinger

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On January the 10th of this year my fiancée's brother was killed by a gun at a acquittances house. In the past couple of months my fiancé's attitude towards life and me have gone down hill. Shane was killed by at .22 hand gun and him and Steve were very close. Steve has been not himself at all I mean how can he be he is missing his other half. these two boys were just like twins. Well my question is how can I help Steve out? I want to talk to him but it just never seems like the right time. I have tried to get him help but he just is not at that stage yet. I have tried to make things easier by taking on his responsibilities and that seems to have been the worse thing to do because he is not doing very well. What do you suggest to help him out before it is too late. He has already told me that he does not want to live how can I help?

I apologize for taking so long to answer your email. I commend you for wanting to reach out to your fiance. Steve is now a member of a "new congregation" in his life, a gathering of those who've had love ones die violently. You are not a member of this congregation. Remember you cannot IDENTIFY with him. He needs to be your mentor as to how to help him. You may be trying too hard to do things for him, to try and make things better.

Ask him how you can help him. What some of his do's and don'ts for you. Usually people are grieving normally, unless there are some significant signs of abnormal grief. Honor his suffering. Often in the immediate aftermath of death or loss, survivors struggle with their will to live. Do not panic too soon. If he would become more severely depressed, that's another matter. Then you would want to check and see if he has thought of hurting himself. If he has thought of hurting himself and has a plan about how to do this, then you want to get help for him right away.

Often the more non-verbal the person in need, the more non-verbal needs to be our response. Just to be there for him is important. Feel free to write again as the time passes and there are further questions.

-Ken Czillinger

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Our son was murdered on April 29, 2001. He was stabbed and he was the innocent bystander. This has traumatized our family. Our question over and over is how can this be? Not our Scotty! My pain is so intense that I can't seem to say that he is gone. I feel that if I accept that he is gone that I am letting go and I don't want to let go. How can I get to the point that I can at least accept that so I can continue on with the grieving process? Should my husband and I seek grievance counseling or is that something that you deal with later? I am really confused.

It is less than 50 days since Scotty was murdered. His death was sudden, unexpected and violent. It is not yet time to fully say that he is gone. Beware of unrealistic expectations of yourself as you mourn. Acceptance is a long word. It is a process you go through, as it were, letter by letter: A C C E P T A N C E. You may only be at A or AC now and that's OK. You are doing your initial grief work. The process is gradual, long and hard.

As the numbness wears off, it gets harder before it gets easier. If the murderer has been found and arrested, you will be involved in the criminal justice system in the days and months ahead. Some of your grief may be delayed or postponed.

I definitely recommend counseling for you and your husband. Find someone whose talents include dealing with the aftermath of murder.

-Ken Czillinger

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I am trying to find someone to talk to when one of your loved one's takes the life of another loved one. The feelings are so mixed up at times. I'm not sure what to do. Any help would be appreciated. I still love her very much even after what she did. It is just so hard at times that I feel I can't deal with it. It seems most people are out for revenge. I am not. Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

Thanks for taking the risk of sharing your story and your suffering. It is most important for you to unconditionally love your loved one, even though she has killed another person.

I support your efforts to get professional help for yourself. If you do not know anyone, do you have a friend or acquaintance who could direct you to a skilled and compassionate clergy person, clinical psychologist, counselor, bereavement specialist?

Also, is there anyone who could connect you with at least one person who has experienced what you are going through? Someone who can identify with you? You need a person who can be an advocate for you, to do some research and homework for you. I hope you are successful in getting the help you need.

-Ken Czillinger

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My 15 year old niece was brutally raped, stabbed and murdered in her home last week. Her 14 year old sister was in the home at the time and called 911. The murderer was standing near her body with the knife in his hand when the police arrived. We buried her yesterday. The family has not been back in their home yet. What can we do to help them? What can be said to aid them in being able to live in their home again?

First, I want to express my sadness over the tragic and untimely death of your niece. It's hard to get beyond the first three sentences of your e-mail.

You can help her family by LISTENING to them and encouraging them to share their feelings and questions, their pain and suffering. Beware of trying to fix anything, of trying to find reasons and answers. Let the pain come out in all its intensity.

You can help them by watching your expectations of them. There are no rules about when they need to return to their home. Some people do it sooner, some later, some may never be able to return because the murder happened there.

You can help them by making a long-term commitment to being there for them. Let them teach and coach you about their needs. Encourage them to tell you what they need from you.

You can help them by doing some homework about available resources, like POMC. Do they have an understanding clergy person? Who will guide them through the criminal justice system? Do they have access to counseling? Would they appreciate being connected to other parents who have been there? Would the POMC website be helpful to them? Maybe you could print out some helpful materials from this website.

Feel free to write again if it would be helpful to you.

-Ken Czillinger

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Three and half months ago a co-worker & friend of mine's 19 year old daughter was murdered out of state (Texas). They quickly caught the ... and he has been indicted by the grand jury. My friend of course has been devastated by this. I try my best to help her with information and by being there for her when and however she needs me, even if it is to just sit there and let her just talk. She is not looking forward to the trial. I know from my exploration on the Internet and periodicals regarding other crimes what happens at the trials. This will be worst for my friend because she will not be on her "home" turf. She will have some of her family with her and her daughter's fiancée lives in Texas but, I know that it will be difficult because she will not be sleeping in her bed, in her own home, in her home area; she will not have her daily routine and familiar surroundings to support herself. What can I recommend, when the time comes, to help her? She likes music and when she traveled to Texas after the tragedy she brought her favorite music CDs with her to play. She also has a victim advocate assigned to her but.... Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. I am sorry if this message sounds a little dry and that I didn't provide any more details but I feel "funny" sending this. I feel like I am being .... whatever.

Even though you "feel funny," thanks for taking the risk and asking for help. I would recommend that your friend's support system include some POMC people who have been through the criminal justice system in Texas. They can serve as mentors for her and collaborate with the victim advocate.

She also needs people like you who can provide emotional support and give her breaks from the pressure and stress. My experience is that family members of murder victims want first to find the person or persons responsible for the murder. Next they want the person(s) tried and sentenced. Some family members favor capital punishment and some do not. Hopefully, after a successful outcome in the criminal justice system, the bereaved family members can crash and get the additional support they need.

Be prepared for the long haul. Your friend will need you to help her heal from this tragedy.

-Ken Czillinger

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First thank you for taking time to read my email. I am just an outsider to my sad story. I met a wonderful man about six months ago. Well about three months into our relationship, his son was murdered. He was only 16 and he was involved in a set up in a bad drug deal. Two of his so called friends lured him into a home where his death occurred. He was bent between two twin beds searching for the drugs he was going to steal, while another young boy waited behind the door with a baseball bat. When young Wes was bent over, he hit him in the head from behind. Wes rolled into a fetal position and cried out in pain. He was not only hit once, but over 20 times until he died. He was then disrobed and pulled out of the house into a wooded area where this boy tried to bury him. The boy was arrested and is now awaiting trial. Three young boys, younger than Wes, were all taken to jail where they await the long and lengthy trial. We live over 800 miles from where Wes was killed and we have taken three trips to go to all the hearings so far. My boyfriend has been unable to drive, so I have taken him every time and want to do so for him. My boyfriend has had me since the first day of this tragic news. I have stood by his side nonstop. I have seen him cry for hours and I have seen him get sick on the side of the road. We have sat for hours laughing over the good times he shared and cried many more over the fact that Wes is not coming back ever. My boyfriend is very spiritual and wants to believe in God, but at this point, he feels that it doesn't really matter. What if when you die, that is all there is. We have sat by his son's grave many times wondering if it is all true. Wes had many friends and every day someone will stop by to tell him that he is missed. Their are so many that loved this young man. I didn't get the chance to meet his son before his death, so I feel that I lost out on even knowing how wonderful he was. I only share in the thoughts of others of him. My question to you is this. I want to help my boyfriend to the deepest and most compassionate way that I know how. I want him to know that I don't understand all of his grief, but I do feel his pain. I too feel deep depression over all the sadness he is going through. He really has no one to turn to but me. He has told me many times that God sent me to him because he knew that he needed me here to help him. I am spiritual too, but I do question God as I have not had the best upbringing in a good solid church. But I do so want to help the best way that I can. I want him to know that I have made a lifetime commitment to be here for him. I want him to know that I will laugh when he wants to laugh and I will cry when he wants to cry. I will understand if he doesnt feel in love with me, and I will understand when he just wants to be alone in his sorrow. But you know, sometimes I feel so helpless. I am a giver, I am the type of person who wants answers. I want to know how to help him to the fullest. I want him to take his path to get back to his baseline of happiness. Having three children of my own, I would want someone with me that could help me to heal. I do know that he will never be the same man that I met six months ago, but I do pray that he will find some peace in his heart to continue towards some kind of normalcy. Am I doing the right things for him? Are there guidelines for someone like me? I feel that this event has brought us into a lifelong bond. I want it to be healthy for us in the future as well. I want us to look back and say that we were there for each other. I want to know that what I do for him has made a difference in his process of this awful journey. Your help with me on helping him will make it so much easier for me to deal. It does amaze me how much this has affected my life as well. I feel that my children will be looked at differently from June 25th and on. Our children are our future and when our future is taken away how can we continue? Please give me some good solid advice where it is needed. Thank you, and I pray that I never have to experience his total pain as he has had to endure. Karen, an Angel, I pray...

Thank you for sharing this tragic story with me. Here are some "guidelines" that may be helpful to you.

  1. Your helplessness is a strength. Neither you nor your boyfriend can change or fix what has happened. However, you have formed a helpless-helpless bond with each other. It can be one of the strongest bonds between people. Remember that you cannot identify with him, since you have not had a child murdered.
  2. Let him feel whatever he is feeling, including revenge and hate. Let him coach you about what he is feeling. Accept whatever feelings he is experiencing.
  3. He will never return to a past "baseline of happiness." He is creating a new baseline since his life will never be the same after the murder of his son.
  4. Take one day at a time. This tragedy is a powerful reminder that life is filled with uncertainty. Will your relationship with your boyfriend be temporary or permanent? The answer is uncertain now.
  5. . Just be present with your friend. Try to reduce your need for answers. Now live with the questions.

-Ken Czillinger

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Our son was murdered 11/97 and with that date fast approaching and with the recent terrorist attack, I have found myself more tearful and thinking a lot more of our son. I thought I was doing better and now I feel I have went backwards these last couple of weeks. Is this pretty typical with something so tragic that it brings all those strong feelings to surface again.

I apologize for being so late in responding to this question. What you are experiencing is very normal. An anniversary date stirs the memories of what happened to you and heightens the significance of your loss. The terrorist attack complicated your mourning. It is hard enough to live day by day with the magnitude of your son having been murdered. Then you add the overwhelming trauma of 9/11/01.

Give yourself permission to be tearful and to think of your son more frequently. It is normal and healthy.

-Ken Czillinger

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On July 9, 2002 in the Gallup Independent “feds nab Gallup pair in murder of Navajo girl” the article printed a couple murdering a 16 year old girl. The murder happened last year when the body was found on March 3, 2001. She had worked at our school for the year 2001/2002. This teacher committed a crime and she still worked with children in the 3rd grade during the school year 2001/2002. Now that the community and parents heard about the news, they are devastated, shocked, and mad. Some students, parents, and community members are disturbed about what had happened. The people have been affected by this psychologically. Thy are not sleeping, and they are asking themselves “is it safe for our kids to go back to school” knowing what had happened. A teacher assistant who worked with this murderer (teacher) can not sleep because she had worked side by side with this killer. She is asking herself “What if she did something to me.” Our school administration and school board are not addressing this traumatic situation. So, we, the concerned parents, are seeking advise how we can address this ordeal to students, Parents, and community parents.

Why are the school administration and school board NOT addressing this traumatic event? Obviously, many lives continue to be affected in the aftermath of the murder. Is there any concerned professional (clergy person, counselor, social worker) who could be an advocate for you? If so, reach out and get such a person or persons involved. Are there any resource persons available to work with you in order to address your feelings, questions, fears, anxieties? If you haven't done so already, get them to help you. If there is absolutely no one, who could assemble these concerned parents in order to help themselves and their children? Be your own support group and give people the opportunity to share their feelings and concerns, as well as what action steps need to be taken.

-Ken Czillinger

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It will be 13 years this Oct. 29th my son was murdered. He was 22 years old. His ‘friend’ was in a bar fight with someone, the murderer left the place and came back later with a bat. He continued to fight with the ‘friend’ and my son seeing the bat tried to break it up and never saw the knife. He was stabbed repeatedly on the back as he had the guy in a bear hug to prevent any more trouble. I just can’t seem to get on with ‘life’. My other children (2 girls) are doing great. Both married with nice husbands, one has a baby, the other is due soon. Nice houses and basically good lives. But I think of my son everyday, many times and at night before I fall asleep I relive the phone call, the visit to the hospital in the middle of the night, the wake, burial, trial, etc. I feel his death is just consuming me. I live an ordinary life and function well daily but by myself, in my heart I ache constantly. After 13 years does this ever lessen? I tried a counselor but felt I was just spinning my wheels and just should get on with living. There will never be closure (there is not such thing) but should I be doing better?? Thanks for listening.

Sometimes I am asked, "How long is the mourning process?" My first response is that the mourning process lasts a lifetime. You will always remember, you will never forget. To be grieving 13 years later is understandable. Why is his death "consuming you?" Is it partly because, over the years, you haven't had adequate time to tell your story over and over again. This is one of the values of being in a support group or of meeting with a counselor skilled in dealing with the bereaved. Do you feel you are stuck? Who is there 13 years later to listen to your story, including the phone call, the visit to the hospital, the wake, the burial, the trial? Do you have any unfinished business that needs to be expressed and listened to with compassion? What feelings and questions still need attention 13 years later?

-Ken Czillinger

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My brothers son was murdered by the police (Adjudicated, closed, police paid). Unfortunately, his son was 23 and they were good friends and since his loss, my brother has simply lost his way of life. He cries at the drop of a hat. He doesn’t make sense as regards police officers – he wants to fight them all. He has tried to commit suicide, has been in jail several times, lost his wife, etc. He and she had lost another child a few years earlier in a car crash. He simply has nothing left in life that he values-not even himself. Bottom line, what can I say to him or do with him to reduce or mitigate his trauma?

In his book THE SUICIDAL MIND, Edwin Schneidman asks the question "Why do people kill themselves?" His answer is that people end their lives because of psycheache(severe psychological pain). This psycheache becomes unbearable and suicide is a last resort. Have compassion for your brother's psycheache and appreciate the magnitude of his pain and suffering. When you are lost, you are experiencing lots of darkness. When someone attempts suicide, darkness is winning in the struggle with light and life. People get tired of dealing with darkness and psycheache. We all have our limits of what we can endure. Let your brother talk about his darkness. Listen to his story. Beware of giving advice, of trying to fix it. Listen to his heart song. If he accepts hugs, hug him and embrace him. Often the more non-verbal the person in need, the more non-verbal needs to be our response. People who attempt or complete suicide are overwhelmed by life. Your brother has had so much to deal with-- the murder of his son, time in jail, loss of his wife. death of another child, bitterness toward the police. Can he share his feelings and questions? Can he ask for help? It has been said that "grief shared is grief diminished." Is he receiving any professional help? LISTEN, LISTEN. BE COMPASSIONATE. BEWARE OF TRYING TO FIX IT OR EXPLAIN IT. ENCOURAGE HIM TO SHARE, TO ASK FOR WHAT HE NEEDS. HELP HIM EXPRESS THE DEPTHS OF HIS PAIN AND SUFFERING. Thanks and express any additional comments,

-Ken Czillinger

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I have a friend whos son was murdered in 1993. i have just learned of this. she feels that god has abandoned her and she is very angry with him. she says that there is no spirit life and that she will never see her son again. i know that she does not belive this.i want so much to help her but cannot find the words. is there some wrbelievematerial that you can recommend?? this lady considers herself to be very self syfficient and does not believe in reaching out for help. can you help me to help sufficient

1. BE PATIENT. Do not try to do too much too fast, especially since you just learned about a tragedy that has been happening for 10 years.
2. ACCEPT YOUR FRIEND AS SHE IS. Give her time and space to share her anger with a God she feels has abandoned her.
3. LISTEN and BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU SPEAK. Listen. Let her tell you what her life has been like for the past 10 years.
4. WALK with HER in HER DARKNESS. What was her rela- tionship with God before her son died? What would need to happen in order for her to build a new rela- tionship with God? Does she hope to see her son again?
5. ASK for GOD'S HELP to be a companion to your friend with whom you cannot identify.

-Ken Czillinger

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Please help me help my friend. My friend's infant son was murdered 15 years ago by a baby-sitter. My friend is carrying around an enormous amount of guilt because she had a gut feeling she should not have left her son in the baby-sitters care that last morning. She had made arrangements to change sitters beginning the very next day because she had these unsettling intuitions about the sitter. She has sought counseling but says this has not helped her with this guilt. She sincerely believes she could have prevented the murder of her infant. I am looking for some direction that I could relay to her. I cannot imagine what she has/is going through. I can only listen and be there. I would like to help her in any possible way. Can you help please?

Your friend is blessed to have someone like you as a companion on such a long and painful journey. Since the murder was 15 years ago, is it accurate to say that your friend is stuck in her guilt?

I teach a course entitled "Life through Death." One of the topics I discuss is guilt. Let me offer some reflections and comments.

1. I believe that guilt is designed to be creative, not destructive; to be heathy, not unhealthy; to be a friend, not an enemy.

2. I describe 2 types of guilt. The first is LEGITIMATE guilt. This is deserved guilt. If you were put on trial, you would be found guilty by a judge or a jury. The second is ILLEGITIMATE guilt. This is undeserved guilt. You would be found not guilty. Would you agree that most people would consider your friend not guilty. She could not have pre- vented the death of her son on that day. Her guilt is illegitimate.

3. However, one of the worst things anyone could say to your friend is "Don't feel guilty." Whether guilt is legitimate or illegitimate, it is still guilt. Feelings are like trick birthday candles. If you tell someone "Don't feel guilty," the candle of guilt is not put out. It will come back on, like the trick birthday candle.

4. Where guilt is present, there needs to be forgive- ness. F O R G I V E N E S S is a long word. S E L F F O R G I V E N E S S is an even longer word. Does she need to be forgiven by God; by her infant son; by family and friends? by herself? Some of these, all of these? For each she needs to try and work her way through the word forgiveness or self-forgiveness.

5. Where is she stuck? Maybe you could help her to answer that question. What is her unfinished business? Part of her will probably always regret not having changed baby sitters sooner.

6. I believe there is a difference between guilt and regret. Guilt involves right and wrong. If your friend knew that the sitter was a potential murder- er and left her son in danger, that's one thing. Regret involves disappointment, wishing that a different outcome or result happened.

7. Perhaps you could have another conversation with friend. Depending upon her responses, you could send me another e-mail and maybe I could be of further help.

 

-Ken Czillinger

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On March 7, of this year my 33 yr. old son was murdered by someone he was friends with his entire life. I actually knew this person from the day he was born. He stabbed Greg in the chest (abdomen), leg and in his temple. None of the other injuries would have killed him except that temple stab. It went through the brain. I was able to see him for several hours before he died even though he was in a deep coma. I had him baptized and when the doctor told me his brain stem had died I told them to remove the ventilator. I couldn't stand to see his body being abused anymore. I regret that decision...I wish someone would have stopped me but nobody did. But that is not even the reason I'm writing. I want to know why I am not mad? I got mad over everything and anything that ever happened to Greg. I went nuts when he was in the hospital for an illness and when he broke his leg. But I have not reacted the same to his death. It has made me question what kind of mother I am and other things. Most of the time it is like nothing happened. Then I hear something small, and unexpected and I cry all day or just wake up crying but it is like I'm not sure what I am crying about. I know this isn't making much sense but I am trying. The thing is....I know Greg is dead. I know I won't see him again. I can say these things, talk about the trial and go to the cemetary several times a week to take care of his grave but somewhere inside I know I just don't believe it. I think about it every moment of every day. I'm a rural mail carrier and when I'm in my car, delivering mail alone and start to think of it I look up at his picture that I keep hanging on my rearview mirror and then it comes to me that this is impossible, Greg HAS to exist someplace, somewhere! Then I'm ok...I just don't believe it. When this first happened I felt guilty eating (greg couldn't) watering plants ( I am keeping plants alive and couldn't do the same for my son) and I constantly heard this voice in my head saying "Greg's dead". After a few months when I heard that voice I then would start asking "what does this mean?" I could never go there though. I know what everybody means when they say they start with the phone call, the trip to the hospital, the funeral, etc. etc.. I did that too every night., over and over. But I did not dream about him. I felt guilty about that too. But in the past month the dreams are starting. The first one I saw him get in a car and wreck. It killed him. I woke up telling myself it was just a nightmare and then realized it wasn't as bad as the reality! Last night I dreamed he was in a coma but had a chance. Sorry for giving you so much information. It feels good to be able to talk about it even if it is to a stranger. Everybody is so good and supportive but they are scared to say anything and when I do they mean well, but I think they try to keep my mind off of it. Impossible but I don't want to make everyone so uncomfortable so I shut up. I don't have a counselor, don't have a lot of faith in them or money. The POMC in our area is in a different town at night and besides me having to work, my son has to go to school the next day. My real question is...why don't I feel mad and why am I feeling so normal most of the time? Am I in a state of denial? Is the worst yet to come? The trial is Dec. 15th. I have to testify so I won't be able to sit in and that bothers me. I'm afraid that I am letting him down again. I hardly ever think about his murderer even though I had started hating him before this happened. what is wrong with me?

Thank you for sharing the tragic story of Greg's murder with me. What unites us, even though we have never met, is that we are both helpless to turn back the clock and change what has happened. If only once in our lives, we had the power to change an event. After reading your e-mail, my first thought is that you are a TRAUMA victim. You have suffered a severe emotional-spiritual injury. It appears that you are doing the best you can to face this reality. Sometimes what we are facing is so overwhleming that we need to sip reality, take it in bit by bit. Any denial you are experiencing is normal, because of the severity of the blow to your life and to your future. Why don't you feel mad? I don't know, but that's OK. All you can do is feel what you are feeling now. Re- member it is only 8 months since the murder. You are going to be involved in a trial in one month. Maybe some day you will be angry at the murderer, at God, at life. You can't force yourself to feel what isn't there now. Be careful about the amount of energy you spend wondering why you are not angry. Imagine that in your grief you live in a mansion of feelings. In the mansion there will always be the anger room. Don't spend too much non-productive time there now wondering about your anger. In the future you could spend a lot of important time in the anger room.

-Ken Czillinger

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What do you think of a young man who took someone else's life, but lived just long enough--a year and a half to really regret doing this. He was murdered in 2003. He believed in and accepted Jesus as his savior, but he walked a path that was filled with sinful things. He drank and smoked pot, he also was affiliated with a gang and had many girlfriends. He did talk about the Lord a lot though and always wondered about his salvation. Do you think he was accepted into heaven and was able to stay there after he was murdered? By the way my brother had a vision of this young man as he was dying-my brother said he saw that Jesus came and offered this young man his hand and that the boy was scared and confused as if he didn't believe he was there for him, but he chose to take Jesus' hand, and that when he did, there was a unifying of their bright lights, and they ascended upwards and he couldn't see them anymore. Is a vision like this possible? What do you think it signifies?

I am a firm believer in the wideness of God's mercy. I think it is possible that this young man was accepted into heaven and has remained there. I think it is also possible that he experienced a purifying process, in which God enlightened him about his life and his choices in life. He became fully aware of how he hurt others and hurt himself. He felt sorrow and regret as he saw the consequences of his choices. I think a vision like your brother had is possible. To me this vision reflects God's unconditional love and mercy. A loving Jesus meets a scared and confused boy, the boy chooses to take Jesus hand and the boy is united forever with Jesus. Could this vision signify that this scared and confused boy, who had such a miserable life, is now ok and with Jesus.

-Ken Czillinger

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All signs indicate murder. Teenager missing, signifcant amount of blood, signs of stuggle, personal items left, torn clothing, etc. Police treating it as a homicide investigation at this point. How will the lack of the daughter's body influence their grief?

The lack of a daughter's body will significantly influence grief. It is far better to grieve a reality rather than a fantasy. When there is no body to see, feel, hold, touch and mourn, your grief is more complicated. You try to reconstruct what happened and head down many different roads, uncertain as to what the actual truth is. Ultimately, you are not able to experiencve the rituals involved in burying the dead.

-Ken Czillinger

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I am going to wear my heart on my sleeve here (so to speak) as it has been difficult for me to reach out to anyone especially face-to-face. My husband shot and killed himself after shooting and killing our 10-year-old son at home while my back was turned. I know that he loved Grant very much but could not bear that Grant & I were leaving him. I know this happens more often that we like to believe, do you find this to be true in your profession and what is it in the mind that compels people to go to such extreme? I am, of course, trying to deal with the guilt, more profoundly missing my son and the life we all had together to some degree. While I did not feel guilty while Grant & I were away from his father, I feel so lost now. It has been almost a year (June 28, 2003) and although I go through the motions of going to work and finding activities, this hole in my heart is so great. I have done a lot of reading and have learned a lot about: metaphysics, that our loved ones are still with us on a higher vibrational frequency, power of positive intentions, the power of now, how people incarnate with different levels of consciousness. My husband, Kevin, did have a lot of emotional problems – he had issues with almost everyone and was always very negative – he never worked during our marriage and blamed it all on his diabetes. He seemed to grow emotionally with Grant (i.e., participated in first grade activities in first grade, second grade activities in second grade, etc.) – it was like having two children except one was 41! I felt he was a well that could never be filled. Of course had I known he would have taken my son’s life, I would have gladly been drained til “I” died. I could go on and on and on … perhaps I just needed someone to talk with and a group just doesn’t appeal to me. I would be interested in anything you may have to offer.

Thank you for the courage it took for you to reach out to me. I want to acknowledge the unbelievable and immeasureable magnitude of your grief (the great hole in your heart).
I once heard a therapist say that HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE. I add SEVERELY HURT PEOPLE ARE CAPABLE OF SEVERELY HURTING THEMSELVES AND OTHERS. It seems Kevin had a history of being hurt. Did this go back into childhood? Who hurt him? How come he couldn't heal or recover from the hurt(s)?

I encourage you to continue to reach out. Maybe POMC could connect you with a person or persons whose story has some similarity to yours. Maybe POMC could comnnect you with someone who deals with violent death on a daily basis (if this would be helpful to you). You have taken a big step. Don't stop now.

-Ken Czillinger

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My daughter was stabbed to death July 10th, 2003. She was 28. It was a man she was dating but was trying to break up. He took her from Las Vegas where she lived and did it in the desert outside of Baker, California. He stabbed her at least 30 times in the upper torso and face. He sliced her open, sawed through 4 of her ribs and lacerated her heart and lungs. He stabbed her under her eye so hard he fractured her skull. She was found within minutes after he left. He was caught and arrested that evening. Of course the court system is very slow. It is in California and I live in Texas so I am not able to attend anything until the trial, but some of our family have attended some things. I feel guilty that I am not there for everything. I feel disloyal to her. He has not even entered a plea but there is enough evidence and a confession so that he cannot plead not guilty. The defense said he is going to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. He is not insane because he tried to clean up and hide the evidence.
I do not feel a lot of rage towards him. I feel sorry for him and for his family. I am a Christian and believe that he is a son of God, but he will need to pay for what he did. Sometimes I get angry and want him hurt, but it doesn’t last long. I do want justice done. I do believe in the death penalty.
I am seeing a counselor thought I am not sure she has a lot of experience with grief counseling. She mostly listens. But it is good because she is the same religion as I am and we can discuss our religious views on the situation.
I also see my doctor and am on anti-depressents and anti-anxiety medicines. I have a wonderful job that has been very supportive of me. My family is very supportive. My other two daughters are having a very hard time and they are really messed up. They are not very religious at this time.
I am not angry at God and know He must have a plan and knows why this happened. My problem is it has been a year now and I still cannot stop thinking and talking about the horrible way she was killed. In the beginning they only told me about the stabbings. I did not find out about the other until a few weeks ago. At this time I feel almost as awful as I did in the beginning. I cannot believe this has happened to us. She was a very sweet, beautiful woman. She was a wonderful mother and daughter. I have missed so much work that I am out of vacation time and sick time already this year. Unfortunately even with continuous pray and reading the scriptures I still cannot seem to get my mind to function properly. I have a hard time working and functioning. I am afraid of loosing my job which is very good. I am single and this is my only income. Is it normal to still be so consumed by her death? Not just that she is dead but the horrible way it happened. I find myself thinking about what happened during the crime scene investigation, at the morgue, autopsy, etc. Sometimes I do not think I can go on, but thankfully since I know the Savior I pray and He makes the pain subside enough for me to go on again. But is it normal to still feel like this and think about it all the time and think about the gory things?
This is kind of rambling but I think you understand what I am trying to say. I would appreciate any help you can give me.

Thank you for sharing with me the tragic story of your daughter's murder. It is VERY NORMAL to feel the way you do and, at the present time, to be "consumed" by her death.
1. You are dealing the the MURDER of your beloved daughter. This is one of the most traumatic events a mother could ever experience.
2. You only recently learned what actually happened to her, "the horrible way in which she died." This adds significantly to your trauma, hurt, loss and complicates your mourning process. You are not coping with the aftermath of a movie, but with the aftermath of a reality, an unexpected event in your personal history.
3. You need to talk about your feelings, thoughts, grief, faith. Continue to rely on and build up your support system. You mention a counselor, a doctor and family. Do you have a compassionate clergy person(s)? Do you have contact with POMC and a POMC support group? Would it be helpful to talk with another mother who can identify with you, who has been through a similar horrible experience?
4. Only you know how difficult it has been to concentrate and to focus. I like the image from the Grief Receovery Institute in Los Angeles. They speak of your mind being filled with quarts of molasses. It takes time and effort to process all this molasses. No wonder you have missed so much work.
5. I say it again and again. You are VERY NORMAL.

-Ken Czillinger

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My daughter was murdered 2 years ago. The first year all I did was cry,I felt numb. During the first year I had a good friend who was one of my main support diagnosed with cancer. She died a month latter. Next a freind also anouther supporter was in an abusave relationship and had to leave the area. Now I am facing the breakup of a 7 year relationship with the man I was suppose to marry. I feel overwelmed with all of this loss and I believe God is helping me but I just cant take much more. Councling hasnt been helping and I am out of answers. We still have to go through the trial. How do I get through such loss? Thanks for listening.

How do you get through such multiple losses? I view your life as a struggle though darkness to light.

1. You need to have an ongoing HUGE SCREAM. It is important to express your suffering, not to keep silent.

2. It is important to talk, to raise questions, even though there maybe no answers. I do not have an explanation for your suffering.

3. Given the loss of your support system, who else can you turn to? Do you have a helpful clergy person? Can POME be of help?

4. Do you need a series of mini-purposes in your life? Can getting through the trial be a mini-purpose? Can POMC help you with this?

5. It is important to continue the struggle. I believe that God is helping you. Do whatever you need to do to strengthen your faith and trust in God. Look past past and present blessings, anything that would give you a future and present to HOPE in.

Write if I can be of further help.

 

-Ken Czillinger

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Our daughter was murdered by her husband who then committed suicide. My question is this. My husband is not interested in intimacy other than hugs nor is he capable of intimacy since her death. We do have a loving relationship but it is not sexual;. Is this normal? It has been 3 years. When you write about your husband and marital intimacy, I first think of the unbelievable trauma of having a daughter murdered and its impact on your entire life experience, including intimacy in marriage. It is common for intimacy in marriage to be affected.

However, I am concerned about the length of time that has passed...three years. Is he in any way stuck?
Is his lack of interest in intimacy totally related to Mandy's murder? Are there any other issues that go back into his past history? What is blocking him from interest in intimacy with you? What would it take to share intimacy again?

Has he received any 1 to 1 professional counseling? If not, I would recommend it for him and maybe, at some point, for both of you.

 

-Ken Czillinger

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My Good friends daughter was murdered by her stepfather. The stepfather killed himself also. The childs viewing is on Sunday. I don't know what to say to my friend to comfort her when I see her.

What a tragic story that happens too often in our world. I once heard it said that "the more non-verbal the person in need, the more non-verbal needs to be your response." You can do a lot by being present, giving hugs and saying little. When you speak, you can say that you care about your friend and will do what you can to support her. Do not tell her you understand or that you know what she is experiencing. Also, be careful if you talk about God or God's will.

Whatever you do or say make it about her and not about you. Hope these comments help.

-Ken Czillinger

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One of my dear friends partner (also a friend of mine) has just lost his sister. She was involved in a long, drawn out domestic violence drama.
Her husband got out of jail on Friday and finally made good on his threat of killing her. The police didn't even notify her that he was released despite the fact that she had yet another restraining order out against him.
He shot her in front of her kids and her parents in her house while she was making dinner.
They are a Latino family and I can't help but believe that race had something to do with the police's lack of responsiveness. That and the fact that this happened in Florida, not exactly the most forward thinking state.
My friend's partner had called the police numerous times begging them to help her and telling them her husband had a gun and had heard him threaten to kill her.
The whole family is devastated. My friend's partner (Fernando) is blaming himself. He's also afraid that her husband is going to go after him and from what my friend has told me, his fears aren't unfounded.
This pscho is on the loose and may very well come after my friends. I'm all the way across the U.S. in California and feeling like I don't know what to do.
How do you support your friends in a situation like this? I wish I could go down to Florida and spend a few days there with them.
Suggestions?

Your e-mail is about a tragedy that could have been prevented. It is a complicated story involving domestic violence, the Latino culture and the lack of response by the police. And here you are miles away from the situation.

What role(s) can you play? One crucial role is to listen. Listen to feelings, questions, details about what is happening. Listen compassionately. Ask good questions. Help the people you are connected with to tell and re-tell the story. Ask them about how you can help them...by phone, by e-mail.

Is it possible for you to go to Florida? It probably would be good for you and for them. When would be the best time for you to go?

Be realistic in what you expect of yourself. What can you do and offer? You are one person. You are living many miles away.

Make sure you have someone to listen to your feelings and questions. Who is there to take care of you, especially someone in California?

These are a few thoughts. Feel free to e-mail me with further comments if it would be helpful to you.

-Ken Czillinger

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Nearly three years ago, my daughter's boyfriend was murdered. The person who confessed to and was convicted of the murder, was my daughter's former boyfriend. Apparently the motive was some misguided, sick jealousy. The murderer also revealed that he had intended to kill my daughter as well as her boyfriend. These were three young people just barely out of high school and beginning college. My daughter continues to suffer greatly on so many levels. Her grief is compounded by the guilt she feels. Although she could have done nothing to prevent the murder and certainly no one places any blame on her, she blames herself. She won't talk about it anymore. How can I help her with her grief? I am so sad for her.

Her boyfriend was an only child and of course his parents suffer greatly. Each year, on the anniversary of his murder and on his birthday, I remember him by sending a card/note to his parents (they live in another state) and by sending my daughter flowers. Is this appropriate or does it cause more pain? My daughter acknowledges the flowers but says nothing else.

I want to acknowledge the magnitude of the tragedy of being personally touched by murder.
It is important for you to take care of yourself, to have outlets where you can share your feelings, questions and concerns. You can't control your daughter's choices, but you can control your choices.
I believe it is appropriate for you to remember his parents and your daughter on the anniversary date and on his birthday. It is a powerful sign that you care.
You ask about how you can help her? Is she receiving any type of counseling? Does she open up to anyone and share her suffering? Has she had contact with anyone who has gone through a similar experience?
She is experiencing what I call illegitimate or underserved guilt. Nevertheless, it is still guilt and it is generally not helpful to say "Don't feel guilty." Where there is guilt, there needs to be forgiveness. F O R G I V E N E S S is a long word. S E L F F O R G I V E N E S S is an even longer word. She needs to work her way through the word(s) letter by letter. It can be a tough process.
Be there for her. You are in a helpless-helpless bond with her, in the sense you can't fix what has happened or turn back the clock and change history. At times your non-verbal presence and support may mean more than any words you can speak. Let her coach you. Will she let you ask questions about her feelings and experience. Persevere. Love her unconditionally.

-Ken Czillinger

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What guidlines would you recomend to a mother that is going to sit with the murderer of her adult son? She will be asking questions about the events leading up to the shooting.

If the mother is asking questions about the events leading up to the shooting, here are some thoughts...

1. Would it be helpful to put her questions in writing(perhaps with someone's help)?
2. Would it be helpful to arrange the questions in a certain order...

(a) Begin with the "easiest" questions for her to ask and move the "hardest" questions.
(b) Begin with the least threatening questions for the murderer and move to the toughest questions.
3. Does she want to go over the sequence of events leading to the shooting? If so, you might start with a particular time (i.e., 7:00 p.m.) and ask for details from that moment on.
4. Does she want to know the murderer's feelings during this time. Does she want to know what her son was experiencing? To what extent does she feel the murderer is telling the truth?
5. Does she want to communicate her own feelings to the murderer?
6. At the end does she feel at peace trhat she got the information she wanted, even though so traumatic to hear and to bear.

-Ken Czillinger

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My 17 year old daughter was murdered October 22, 2005. The trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 23rd. I've been doing pretty good dealing with this ordeal with the help of anti depressants but I find now that since the trial is just days away I can't concentrate, I feel like I'm going to cry any second and I'm afraid of how I will react in the court room. Any suggestions on how to deal with this?

Here are 2 thoughts/steps...
1. Assume that what you are experiencing is NORMAL for someone in your situation. So not being able to concentrate, feeling like you're going to cry and fear of how you'll react are normal.

2. Contact POMC and get connected to one or more persons who have been through the experience of a trial. Take advantage of their wisdom and experience. Let them coach you. What questions would you like to ask them? Could one of them be a mentor for you during the entire trial. That way you wouldn't feel so alone. Hopefully, this would be a source of strength and courage for you. With this type of support you can do it.

-Ken Czillinger

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My ex husband murdered his wife today. We have an 11 year old daughter from our marriage. I'm struggling with how to tell her what happened. She was at their house today but had been taken over to a neighbors before he murdered her step mom. I need to know how to approach this with her so I can do it without traumatizing her further.

I think it is important to be truthful with children. How we tell them the truth will vary from child to child. What is the best way to tell your daughter the truth? Here is one approach. Write down the facts of the situation. I will refer to your ex-husband's wife as "Nancy." Nancy died suddenly today. She died at WHEN She died WHERE She died HOW Your Dad killed her. Where is her Dad now? What is going to happen to him? Once you have the basic information...what is the best sequence to tell your daughter. This is your call. Tell her in bits that she can "swallow." Encourage her to share her feelings and her questions. There will be life-long aspects involved here. Hopefully, there will be many conversations between you and your daughter. Let her know how hard this is for you. Be careful when you try and explain why her Dad did this?

-Ken Czillinger

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My daughter was murdered by her mentally ill boyfriend 2 and a half years ago. He is currently incompetent to stand trial. Here are my questions:

1. I feel SO alone even though I have friends and family. What do I do with this pain and loneliness? I have already gone to family counseling and bereavement counseling. I tried a bereavement group but ended up feeling WORSE (the others were all killed in accidents so I felt different, and I am very empathic and felt ALL their pain as well as my own). Those who loved my daughter are hurting, too, so I don't like to burden them with my pain. I have tried to find others like me but I am not having luck. (email would be great).
2. I feel weird about the fact that I am not showing my pain more. Normally I am a very sensitive person who cries frequently. But when it comes to my daughter, I think I am "painfully numb." I can't bear to think about the good times because I miss her too much. I obsess about her death and it takes me to a very dark place. But I have no where to direct the anger. I shouldn't care what others think but I do care. I wonder if at times I am being too "light" and at other times being too "dark."
3. I don't hate her boyfriend, her murderer, and that makes me feel weird and guilty. In fact, sometimes I feel sorry for him (mentally ill, locked away). But I DON'T want him set free, either. Also, my daughter loved him and he didn't abuse her--I think he just snapped at the end. So I feel her love for him in my heart, too, in a way. I am mad at his family for not doing more for prevention and I feel sorry for them too. What do I do with these weird and conflicting feelings? Feelings that others would not understand or might judge me for?
4. I can sense that my friends and family are "done" talking about all this. I am not. I feel like I am going to lose people because I am grieving. I have already lost one close friend because we had an argument (due in part to my grief and depression) and she didn't feel I could sympathize with her problems anymore. That hurts me a lot. I apologized for being overly emotional but she has written me off. I want to be a fun person, and I am. But there are times when I am NOT fun. Who is around for that? People don't like the fact that I have changed...But I can't help it...
5. How do I get my friends and family "educated" about homicide survivors w/o looking like I am whining or complaining? For example, people expect me to be sad around the holidays, reminisce, and cry. What they don't expect is for me to be moody, irritable, not willing to empathize as much as I used to (I was actually dumped on a lot). I am also not as productive, I am spacey, I talk to much, I don't get enough sleep. I know it is normal. I have already taken medicine, read books, etc. This is just post traumatic stress. But how do I tell people that?
6. I never thought I was superstitious but since my daughter's death, a lot of things "freak me out." There is no rhyme or reason. An example is I don't want to hang pictures up or do certain things that I did before she died. Somehow I am afraid it will "jinx" me or that certain things are unlucky. Also, her murdere was in my home and touched my objects. At times I feel freaked out about that and have actually thrown things away (wasteful). I don't want to live like this! Probably the biggest example is PRAYER. I was actually in the middle of saying a prayer and crying when the doorbell rang that night and I got the news of my daughter's death. So now I associate prayer with BAD things. I was praying for something "good to happen."
7. How do I deal with guilt? I am a very good person but I have done a handful of things in my life I regret. Sometimes I think I am being punished for being "bad". It's not logical since I know life doesn't work that way.
8. How do I regain hope and faith? I know many people have difficult lives. Some have WAYYY more difficult lives than I do. But out of the my group of friends and co-workers, I would have to say I have had much much more bad things happen in my life. (99% just happened, not a result of my actions). For instance, my grandfater was murdered too back in the 40's. I have had problems with childhood. I have had some minor health issues and my family has faced some serious health issues. Then my daughter was killed. How do I have faith when life has shown me BAD things happen? I sometimes feel cursed. I am a positive person in general, but how can I help but wonder?
9. How do I stop feeling so resentful? When I think of raising my daughter and doing such a good job and she had SO much potential and all the things she went through in her short life (surgeries, getting good grades, etc) then her life is just OVER. I feel so hurt. I feel I can't trust life or God.

I have received your e-mail. After reading it I thought of the expression GRIEF SHARED IS GRIEF LESSENED. You need safe persons and safe places where you can share your grief. This will be true as long as you are alive.
POMC has over 300 chapters and contact persons. Could you get in contact with the person nearest you and maybe get connected to a mother or two whose story is similar to yours? A favorite quote of mine is "Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive." You need to tell your story and hears others that you can identify with.
Is there someone you could meet one-to-one with who has a background in SPIRITUAL DIRECTION? Hopefully, this could be a safe person and place to talk about God, faith, hope, prayer, meaning in life, anger, complicated grief.
Your grief is complicated due to the circumstances involved: her murderer being a boyfriend with a mental illness (opposite feelings of compassion and yet wanting him to remain in prison) and the news coming to you during a time of prayer. I have met with a man (of the Catholic faith) who was at Mass on Sunday praying for his son at the very time he was being struck and killed by a drunk driver.
Perhaps you might be the best person to educate your friends about your grief. Have you ever written anything about what your journey has been like over these past 2 and a half years? Have you done any journaling? I meet with a couple whose only child was killed in an auto accident. The father speaks of "A" friends who get a high grade for their ongoing concern and support. The number of "A" friends often decreases with the passage of time after the death.
As I review your e-mail, I feel all your grief is very "NORMAL" for what you are experiencing. As to guilt I like look at your guilt as undeserved and illegitimate...
if you were put on trial you would be found NOT GUILTY. Nevertheless, illegimate guilt is still guilt. I wouldn't tell you "Don't feel guilty." Where there is guilt, there needs to be forgiveness (of self, from others, of/from God). Here is where the Spiritual Direction person may be helpful.
Finally, I like to spell out T R U S T. Can you increase trust in life and God one letter at a time? Sometimes this can take years, but that's ok.

I hope some of these thoughts have been helpful. Feel free to e-mail again.

-Ken Czillinger

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It has been five years since i lost my mother and ex step father to a murder suicide and almost 20 since i lost my uncle to a murder as well i lost both to shootings and at night when i close my eyes i see crazy stuff like splatering of blood on the wall and did she die first i hear the gunshots in my head and i cannot sleep i felt numb for so long but now i just want to cry i miss her for all the memories we had yet to have and all the ones i did have i have yet to have feelings for my ex step father but i feel sadness when i talk to him i feel so lost with out her and i try to be strong but the truth is that i think of her every day i see her in my sleep i feel her around me i have tried to talk to counslers but i am still having this problem when i sleep at night i sleep with a light is this normal can i still feel this way after 5 years i feel as if an awful dream i am waking from and i can not get it claws ripped out of me to say its not true. Every time Thanksgiving comes around i see her house decorated in my head i see a scarecrow and i hate it i see anything about that holiday and i see her house i see him walking in to kill her even though i did not see it god i wish it would stop i just want everything to be as it was before she died befor my uncle died i just whant to have peace.

I have received your e-mail. I hope the energy of my compassion can reach you. Do you live near a POMC chapter or POMC contact person? Hopefully, you can be guided to at least 1 person who has been through at least some of what you have experienced and has survived.
I have attached a list of feelings/emotions. You can mark which of these feelings you have been experiencing in the last 2-3 months. Are there a few people, including one or more people who've had a loved one murdered, who can listen to your feelings? Has any one of your counselors had background in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Sounds like the trauma continues during the night.
If only you could turn the clock back and life would be the way it was before she died. Unfortunately, life the way it was has ended and you are still crossing a long bridge to a new life, a life where some day you may experience much more peace than you are now. Keep reaching out for help.
With belief in you,

-Ken Czillinger

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My daughter was brutally murdered 15 months ago. The defendant finally pleaded quilty and is serving a term for second degree murder. I use to be a pretty out going person but now I feel like a leper and would rather be away from people. I seem to have such a need to talk about my daughter and realize that people don't want to talk about it any more so I try to pretend that I'm OK, but I'm not. I continue to cry and am annoyed that people don't understand that I still have such pain. What can I do to ease the pain I'm still feeling?

My heart goes out to you as you continue to grieve the brutal murder of your daughter.
Here are some thoughts about easing your pain. How would you describe the pain you are feeling now? To what extent is it physical? emotional? spiritual? Do you keep some kind of journal or record of your pain?
Who might be some possibe persons to talk to who would listen to your pain? Are you near a POMC chapter or contact person, someone who can identify with you because they have been there(preferably at least one person in their second or third year after the murder of a child/daughter? Would you benefit from pro- fessional help from a counselor, psychologist, clergy person?
Do you need to revise your expectations of your friends and others who don't understand the ongoing intensity of your grief? Maybe you can't count on them to understand your grief. Maybe you can do other things with them, i.e., shopping, movie, meals, travel. I believe it is important to stay connected with other people and not get isolated.
It is very important to continue to talk about your daughter. It is crucial to find one or more people who will listen. You need to summon the energy to find these people or ask someone to help you find these people.
I am attaching a list of feelings and emotions + directions of how to use this tool. This can be a way of helpng you identify and rank your feelings of naming your emotional pain. Feel free to e-mail again if it would be helpful.
With a compassionate heart,

-Ken Czillinger

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Two years ago this coming Halloween my 21 year old nephew was shot and killed at a party. My sister is desperately trying to get her life back to some kind of normalcy for the only son she has left. Although she is willing to ask for help, her husband has not left the sanctuary of his bedroom, except to go to work, for the past two years. Even at work, he has no contact with anyone. He will not talk to my sister and limits the time he allows my other nephew to spend with him in his room. My sister and nephew have tried numerous times to get him to counseling. Family members have tried numerous times to talk to him. He has totally withdrawn and is in such a depressed state. The other day my sister called in a panic because her husband has now become physically sick and she does not know what to do to help him.

I am at a loss and want to do whatever I can to help my sister and her family. Although our oldest brother was murdered, 25 years ago and the loss as tragic as my nephew’s I cannot pretend to know how my sister and brother in law are feeling because I have not suffered to loss of a child.

Please tell me what I can do to help. The anniversary of my nephew’s murder is fast approaching; his birthday follows two weeks later, and the trial is set to begin a week after that. If she cannot help her husband through these next few months, I fear that she too will suffer a set back, which is certain to affect my other nephew.

Thank you for contacting me. Here are some comments.

Continue to support your sister. She is open to help and she needs lots of help. Is her support system adequate? Is she getting any kind of ongoing professional help in order to deal with her husband, with the apprtoaching anniversary/birthday, with the upcoming trial? POMC can provide guidance about the trial and the criminal justice system. She needs help so that she doesn't get overwhlemed by life.

Is there any concern that her husband might try to end his life? Is there any- one (clergy person, family member, friend, co-worker) who could intervene and persuade him to get help. Obviously, his behavior is self-destructive since he is cutting himself off from love, support, life. Would it be important for you or someone to contact a crisis line (or similar agency) and get some coaching about possible ways to help him. Two national numbers are 1-800-273-talk and 1-800-suicide. You might learn some possible options for trying to help him.

Finally, is your surviving nephew getting the help he needs? Who is supporting him? It is important that his grief gets faced and not buried. Feel free to e-mail me again if it would be helpful.

-Ken Czillinger

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My questions to you are as follows, I hope you will be able to answer these questions, keeping in mind I only would want to know how god would address/answer these ...
1) What type of punishment does a person receive from god...when he/she decides to murder and take the life of a another human being...
2) God is forgiving...but, does he forgive even the most heinous of sins...namely, Murder...
3) Do you believe there is a spirit, evil, on earth, that gets inside someone and makes them do the "Will of the devil"...
4) How can I accept what has happened to my son....
5) Will I see my son again when I die...
6) Do you believe in fate...
I am living a nightmare, it seems, a fate worse than death itself...I do believe in god, and I do go to church every Sunday, but I am still left everyday, with a broken heart and emptiness...the kind of emptiness that makes a person sick to the stomach, sad, full of anger, sorrow, cant sleep, cant think, cant express, cant socialize...on and on and on...

Here are my responses to your questions. Feel free to respond.

1. I believe that God will hold us all accountable for our choices, actions, behavior.
I believe that God will hold every murderer accountable for his/her violent behavior.
I do not know what kind of punishment they will receive. However, I do believe one day (after you have died) that you will understand and accept the treatment they re- ceive from God.

I believe that God will be compassionate toward murderers. How God will be com- passionate and forgiving, I do not know. Ultimately, I have to put this matter "on God's desk" and put my trust in God's wisdom. I believe that murderers will be enlightened by God both as to why they did what they did and as to the suffering experienced by their victims and their loved ones. They will experience the pain of the consequences of their violent behavior. 2. I do believe that God can forgive murders. However, as I mentioned earlier, part of the forgiveness process involves murderers being held accountable for their behavior. 3. I believe that there is a capacity for evil inside each of us. As a Christian I believe this is a result of original sin. I do not use language like the "will of the devil." I believe that hurt people hurt people and that severely hurt people are capable of hurting others severely and violently. In my opinion there are many adults and children throughout the world today who are experiencing unhealed hurt. In many cases the origin of this hurt goes back into their childhood and early family history. 4. To me acceptance of your son's murder will be a life-long process. One type of acceptance is an intellectual acceptance of what happened. A second type of acceptance(and a deeper level of acceptance) is accepting what happened in your soul. This is what grief work is all about. 5. I believe that you will see your son again. How Gods works this out, I do not know. However, not to see your son again would be a huge disappointment from an earthly point of view. To me there can be no disappointment in heaven. 6. It depends on what you mean by fate. I believe that most things happen because of choices we humans make. I speak more of the mystery of life and death. There is so much we do not understand. Some day we need God to explain the mystery to us. It has been said that one of the greatest of all losses is the loss of the way I thought it would be. You do not expect to bury your child, especially to bury a child who has been murdered. Indeed you are living a "nightmare" and experiencing a fate that seems "worse than death." Keep sharing your grief. Do not bury it. Find at least a few people who will permit you to share with them your broken heart and your emptiness. Find some people you can socialize with. Stay connected to POMC and with people who can identify with you because their child (their son) has been murdered. This is my 40th year of helping the dying and the grieving. (In 1978 I helped found POMC.) By the time I was 28 years old, I had buried half my family (my Mom at age 49, then my brother at 24, then my Dad at 58). None died violently. The following two sentences about the Last Judgment have become an important anchor for me in my own faith. "God will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation." Continue on your journey of grief and know that you do not walk alone.

-Ken Czillinger

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MY DAUGHTER, CHELSEA WAS MURDERED BY A CAREER CRIMINAL. THE HATE I HAVE FOR THAT IDIOT WILL NEVER GO AWAY!!. IT IS THE HATE THAT I HAVE FOR MY EX AND HER MOTHER BY THE WAY CHELSEA, MURDERED ON THERE WATCH IN W.S. NOT ONLY DID THEY SHUT ME OUT OF HER LIFE PRIOR TO HER DEATH THEY HAVE CONTINUED THIS BEHAVIOR NO CONTACT WITH DAD LIKE I AM DEAD THEY SURE WOULDN’T CARE. HOW SAD I CANT GRASP HOW ANYBODY COULD DENY THE FATHER TIME WITH HIS CHILDREN??? I HAVE BEEN IN FAMILY COURT, PRIOR TO CHELLY DEATH AND AFTER . I CANT HANDLE MUCH MORE!!!! I COULD BE A CHILD KILLER BUT I WOULD SEE MY SON MORE THAN I DO NOW... THEY HAVE CUSTODY!!! CHRISTOPHER 14 AND MOVED BACK TO CALIFORNIA I HAVE NOT SEEN CHRIS FOR ALMOST 2YRS . IS THIS MY FAULT?
HURTING FATHER

Thank you for taking such a big step by sending me your e-mail. Over the 40 years I have been helping the dying and the grieving, I have learned that suffering needs to be experienced, grieved and often protested.
It is healthy for you to be honest and express your hatred both for daughter's murderer and your ex and her mother. You say that you "can't handle much more." Where can you go to get some relief from your suffering? Do you have access to a POMC chapter where you can connect with others who have been there? Can you turn to a counselor, clergy person, friend or someone else? It has been said that "grief shared is grief lessened." Most of the time I believe this is true. Since I know so little about your story and the custody issue, I would not want to blame you or anyone else. This would be an important topic to discuss with those in your support system.

-Ken Czillinger

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My 18 year old son was murdered a few weeks ago. One month prior I remarried and added 2 step daughter to my own 3 children. I don't know how to answer when people who don't know my circumstances, ask how many children I have. I don't want to omit my son, but I don't know what other parents say under these circumstances.

The POMC National Office has forwarded your e-mail to me. I am Ken Czillinger. In 1978 I helped found POMC.

I am a great believer in telling people the truth when possible. Your truth is...
I have been married twice. I have 3 children by my first marriage, including a son was murdered(or who died). I also have 2 step children.
Another option...I have 4 living children and 1 son who was murdered (or who died in 2010. When dealing with people who "don't know your circumstances," you have to make a choice. How much of the truth do you want to or feel comfortable sharing? Different people will make different choices.
You are a beginner as a parent of a murdered child. As the days pass I hope you find the words that are best for you in each situation you encounter.
With confidence in you,

-Ken Czillinger

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